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So it’s going to happen. As we report today, management teams from both Lovells and Hogan & Hartson have unanimously backed the firms’ proposed merger.
The next step is to recommend the deal to the teams’ respective partnerships. What looks to be a merger of equals should - barring any unexpected at-the-altar shouts of “no!” - be completed by 1 May next year.
As with any union there’ll be teething troubles. But the consensus so far in the market is that this deal could genuinely see the creation of something not seen before.
“At a stroke you’ll have a firm the size of A&O, better quality than DLA Piper, broader in scope than Herbert Smith and far more international than anything in the current UK mid-market,” is how one London consultant sums up the deal.
Whether it kicks off a wave of consolidation misses the point, although the same consultant believes that in a year or two the deal will be seen as the one that really started the trend towards fewer, larger firms.
Until then, the main thing to resolve is the new firm’s name. The scifi-ish Logan remains many people’s favourite while those of a family frame of mind prefer Lovson. And there’s always Hovells
But at The Lawyer we’re plumping for LoveHart. It’s decidedly sweet - a bit like Lovells.